Capitalism has branded February the month of love, and for the past few years, I’ve played along with my musings being love-themed every February. This month, for example, I shared flash fiction I worked on for Brittle Papers’ Valentine’s Day anthology last year.
Now that my Christian Musings page means blogging twice a month, I considered what love themed post to make from my Christian experience. There’s so much that faith helps us learn in love and love helps us become through faith. At its core, the gospel is essentially a dramatic love story… so it was hard picking just one thing to focus on. But I succeeded because one of the biggest lessons I feel needs to be learned by Christians is the lesson on loving your non-Christian friend.
For a religion which was founded by a man known for breaking convention and loving heretics, rebels and the disliked… Christianity (or rather we Christians) fails woefully to meet that example. We seem to believe we must love those who think like us, look like us, believe as we do. And we often mistake love (philia which we are called to feel for every living thing) with like. As a result, most Christians dish out a fake kind of acceptance of those they deem not of the “yolk”. We often speak of religious tolerance, asking that people of one religion tolerate the other… as though the other person was a bad aftertaste to prescribed medication.
You can love someone, as a creation of God you believe in without necessarily liking them. Love them- accepting and celebrating them for who they are, how God made them different from you. You need not be like them, nor agree with them, but you can always respect them. And that respect breeds love because it ascertains you’ll treat the other person with a due amount of consideration. And isn’t that all we need? Some consideration? I think it is. Empathy goes a long way and should be actively cultivated.
My friend list spans a wide girth; atheist, agnostics, friends of different religions or different Christian denominations with contrasting doctrine etc. They are all my friends, they all have something about them I truly love and admire, they all better me in some way (even if that way is testing my patience LOL!). We are not “unequally yolked” so much as complementary. They don’t have to be equally yolked with me, they are not Christians, and I respect that. My job is to be the example of what a Christian is for them to see. And that’s it.
So how do you love your Non-Christian friend?